Here is the last part - Bella's jealousy. This section of eclipse contains my signature phrase... (oh Edward, how could you be so hard on me?)
Many thanks to psymom and MarcyJ for making it to the end! You guys ROCK!
UPDATE 3/22: Thanks to LindaRoo for her great catch of a couple of timeline errors (and shared the fact that SM had told her at a book signing that Tanya's pass happened on Edward's trip to Denali after meeting Bella). A few changes have been made to remedy that error only.
As usual, all the regular disclaimers apply: Stephenie Meyer owns all things twilight; no money is being made from this work; and absolutely no copyright infringement is intended. The dialog from eclipse here is copied only for clarity. Thanks to Stephenie for creating such wonderful characters!
Where we are...Edward was just insanely jealous of Jacob, and part 3 ended with Bella trying to kiss Edward one more time...
In Edward's lovely voice...
"Good night, Bella."
She clung to me desperately for a moment. "Wait – there was something else I wanted to ask you about."
I paused. What else could she be thinking of – some other way to tempt me tonight?
"I was talking to Rosalie last night…" My sister's memory of their conversation had been in the forefront of Rosalie's thoughts when I'd arrived tonight. I'd seen Bella through her eyes, seen her trepidation at hearing the graphic tale. I tensed, not knowing which part Bella had questions about.
"Yes. She was thinking about that when I got in. She gave you quite a lot to consider, didn't she?" Was Rosalie able to finally convince Bella to stay human?
Part of me had grown so used to the idea that Bella would eventually join me as an immortal, that it hurt thinking that she'd finally given in and decided to stay human. Staying human is what is best for Bella, truly it is. But Rosalie? Who would have thought that she would be the one to sway Bella?
The look on Bella's face changed; her brow creased in thought, as though she was trying to say something difficult. I heard her heart rate increase and I prepared to hear Bella's new realization.
"She told me a little bit… about the time your family lived in Denali." Her voice was tentative, controlled.
These were not the words I was expecting, and I didn't know how to react. Denali – that was so long ago – before I really knew Bella. What had Rosalie told her? Why would she bring up that piece of the past? My gratitude toward my least favorite sibling vanished.
"Yes?" Uneasiness crept over me.
Suspiciously Bella answered, "She mentioned something about a bunch of female vampires… and you."
Damn it, Rosalie, when will you ever learn to shut your mouth… stirring up trouble every time you open that trap. I kept my anger deep inside – saving it for my dear sister. A few of Emmett's more colorful curses now flew through my mind.
Bella waited for me to say something – but what could I say? To use common vernacular, yes, they hit on me… But that was ancient history. There was only one... incident... and nothing really happened.
"Don't worry," Bella said, and there was an edge to her words now. "She told me that you didn't… show a preference. But I was just wondering, you know, if any of them had." She took a breath, and I could feel the heat of the blood rising in her cheeks. "Shown a preference for you, I mean."
I gazed at Bella's face and realized that this was not the same blush I'd come to love… there was no smile to accompany it. She actually looked like she was fighting back a grimace. As I processed this new expression it grew darker.
Shown a preference… that was a euphemism I wasn't familiar with… how could I answer her? It could be said that Tanya had 'shown a preference' for me, but had been long after we'd moved from Denali. I'd only spent two days total in Denali on that return visit, trying to clear my head after meeting my exceptionally delectable lab partner.
Tanya's subtle touches and sidelong glances had definitely conveyed her affection, but I'd thought that she was just trying to comfort me - at first. When I had realized the true intentions behind her displays, I'd politely declined her advances as quickly as possible. Her courting never passed the curious stage - she never even kissed me. My words to her came back in a flash: "While your attention is flattering, Tanya, your time would be better invested elsewhere."
Nothing had happened.
Tanya had taken the rejection with grace, but not before mentally inviting me to her bed one more time. In a few short seconds she had pictured us locked together in an embrace that included maximum contact and minimal clothing. Had I been able, I would have blushed. And yet the image of Tanya's sleek, bare body held no attraction for me; my mind was already filled with the torture and mystery that a certain Bella Swan had presented me just a day before. "No thank you, Tanya," I'd said, and immediately left to go hunt.
"Which one?" Bella asked, her words becoming harder as she spoke. "Or was there more than one?" Bella's imagination was running away with her before my eyes. I still couldn't find words, though, and the hole I was in grew that much deeper with each passing second.
More than one? No, just Tanya; though the others, like so many women I'd encountered over the years, always seemed to have some inappropriate comment about my anatomy waiting on the tip of their tongue.
The encounter disturbed me for only a short while. Tanya and her family had always been friends, and I worried that this uncomfortable situation might damage their relationship with Carlisle and the rest of my family. Thankfully when I did finally return from hunting, Tanya apologized, attributing her advances as simply a girlish fantasy. We'd parted shortly thereafter, friendship intact.
As much as I hated to admit it, Tanya wasn't the first to include me in her fantasies. She just took the image to a new level that caught me off guard. It is said that men think of nothing but sex – but we have nothing on a woman's imagination, especially that of an experienced female like Tanya.
Still – this was only one female – only one thought really – and nothing had happened. The words still sounded unbelievable, even to me; Bella would only hear them as a guilty admission. Speech still eluded me as the phrase 'hung out to dry' took on a new clarity for me.
"Alice will tell me, I'll go ask her right now." Great. Let's get the whole family involved. Alice wouldn't embellish, but the visions she'd had when I was confronted with the choice of taking Tanya's invitation were, to my eyes, pornographic. In one flash, Alice had seen our entire relationship – what there was of it. My innocence, her conquest, the nasty aftermath of shame… all of it was laid out in my mind in its Technicolor glory. I pinched my eyes shut tightly, trying to erase the filthy feeling that memory still brought me.
Bella tried to wiggle free, but I held her still. My silence had to end, I could see anger starting to rise in my love's face.
"It's late. Besides, I think Alice stepped out…" I had to cut this short – now.
"It's bad. It's really bad, isn't it?" her voice changed, and the anger changed to despair. Ah, Bella, there has been only you; there can be only you…
"Calm down, Bella, you are being absurd," I scolded, touching my lips to the tip of her nose.
"Am I? Then why won't you tell me?" Suddenly I felt a new adoration for my beautiful Bella – she was jealous!
"Because there's nothing to tell. You're blowing this wildly out of proportion." I suppressed the smirk that was lingering on my lips. The anger in her face now was quite lovely.
"Which one?" she nearly shouted.
She wasn't going to let this go without details. I sighed. How could I appropriately thank Rosalie for this annoying situation? Emmett didn't know all the details of Rosalie's fascination with a certain actor, and the photos that she had squirreled away in a jar in her dresser… Maybe I could dye all of Rosalie's clothes lime green – that seemed quite appropriate…
I kept my voice very even as I spoke. "Tanya expressed a little interest. I let her know, in a very courteous, gentlemanly fashion, that I did not return that interest. End of story." There, that didn't sound so bad…
Her voice became mechanical. "Tell me something – what does Tanya look like?"
Oh, no, I will not be pulled into that trap… "Just like the rest of us – white skin, gold eyes," I answered quickly.
Bella frowned in the dark and her voice became sharp. "And, of course, extraordinarily beautiful."
Not compared to you, I thought. Somehow I knew that she wouldn't appreciate that comparison though, or any comparison at the moment. I shrugged.
"I suppose, to human eyes." I had to get her off this subject… "You know what, though?"
"What?" she snapped.
As if I hadn't had enough temptation tonight, her jealousy now called to me. I brought my lips to her ear and whispered softly, "I prefer brunettes," and brushed my lips against her earlobe.
Her tone softened slightly. "She's a blonde. That figures."
As I continued to trace her ear with my lips I could hear her heart beat starting to accelerate again. "Strawberry blonde – not at all my type."
Bella didn't speak, but set her mouth in a pout as she considered my words. I couldn't help but smile at her expression as I continued to distract her. My lips began to absorb the heat of her soft skin as I traced her neck and jaw, then back down. Each time I reached her chin, I could feel Bella's face relax a little more. She was so stubborn… How I loved her.
"I guess that's okay, then," she said sourly.
"Hmm, you're quite adorable when you're jealous," I said, my lips never leaving her neck. "It's surprisingly enjoyable." I smiled widely, making my way back to her ear, enjoying how the scowl on her face warmed my heart. She still refused to speak, her lips pressed tightly together.
"It's late," I whispered, starting to chant my words. "Sleep, my Bella, Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love."
If there were only some way I could prove how true my words were to her. There is one way… And the greatest temptation of all now reared its head. For a moment I let myself visualize Bella's dream, and closed my eyes.
She lay here on the bed, our bed, her eyes bright and yet fearful. "Please, Edward," she would entice, holding her hands out to me wrists up. A flash of gold on her left hand catches my eye. "I love you," she whispers as my lips meet her skin. The memory of her exquisite taste consumes me and my mouth fills with venom. As fast as possible I inject her wrists and ankles with my poison, then turn toward her face. Her eyes are now wracked with pain – a sight I know all too well – and she begs me one more time. "Please, my love," she strains, and she slowly lifts her chin…
I opened my eyes, ending the vision and looking at my drowsy love, and at her beautiful, inviting neck. The thought of how she so wanted me to inflict that violence upon her – to cause her such intense pain – dumbfounded me. In her eyes it would prove the permanence of my love, but how could I take away the only future she deserved? I quickly swallowed the dangerous fluid that had filled my mouth.
Many things had to happen first, I remembered, not the least of which was that she would have to become my wife. I glanced toward the end table, picturing the small black box that resided there. Maybe, if she were my wife, I could…
Bella finally started to relax, and I began to hum her lullaby, trying desperately to clear my thoughts. Soon she was breathing evenly again, sound asleep.
So many words, so many emotions, so many sensations had passed between us tonight that my mind was a jumble. Instead of trying to sort them out, I gave up. My favorite memory appeared as I envisioned Bella sitting innocently in our meadow, so trusting and lovely, and I focused on the one sound that was more soothing than any music, Bella's heart beat.